Here's our weekly look at the intersection of sports and business:
The World Series
This season, the Rangers, who join the Phillies as the only teams in the past 10 years to have made consecutive World Series, played to a stadium at 74% of capacity, while the Cardinals played to 89% capacity.
The three World Series games scheduled for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington have led to 57.4% of North Texas area hotel rooms being booked for those nights, according to data collected by TravelClick, a hotel reservation data provider. When the Rangers were in the World Series last year, only 38% of hotel rooms were booked at the time.
If the Cardinals go the distance in the World Series, St. Louis projects economic impact from the playoffs to exceed $56 million. Each game in the division and league championship series was worth $5.2 million; World Series games likely are worth $1 to 2 million more.
Bottom Line: In the cases of the Rangers and Cardinals, winning (or even losing) the World Series could mean $30 to 50 million over the next five years in incremental ticket, merchandise, and sponsorship sales. Both teams have considerable room for improvement on ticket sales; a World Series win could provide a hefty boost.
FIFA World Cup Rights
In a surprising upset, FIFA awarded English-language TV rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Fox Sports instead of the front-runner, incumbent ESPN. Fox will pay around $425 million for a package that also includes two women’s World Cups, and all U-20 and U-17 games. Telemundo will pay $600 million for the Spanish-language U.S. rights.
It’s easy to understand why there was so much interest in the rights. The 2010 men’s World Cup set all kinds of viewership and ratings records, while the 2011 women’s World Cup had higher ratings than Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, the Daytona 500 and the Wimbledon Final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Bottom Line: Fox has always had interest in soccer rights. The company even has a dedicated soccer network, Fox Soccer.
NHL Business Report
As the NHL’s business continues to prosper, several NHL sponsors are close to renewing their league-wide sponsorship deals. Among the companies near extensions are Discover, Geico and Visa. Top-level NHL sponsorships are valued in the mid-to-high seven figures annually.
If there’s one particular way the NHL hopes to tap new revenue, it’s by streaming games. According to John Ourand & Fred Dreier of Sports Business Journal, the league still doesn’t have any local streaming deals in place for its U.S. teams. Negotiations have stalled over questions of where the streamed games would be available to viewers.
Bottom Line: Streaming deals will fall into place sooner rather than later. Worst-case scenario, fans can always watch games in Scandinavia. Broadcaster Modern Times Group just signed a five-year, $50 million deal to televise NHL games in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Rick Horrow is the "Sports Professor," and is the Sports Business Analyst for Fox Sports. He has been the Visiting Expert on Sports Law at the Harvard Law School, and has authored "When the Game Is on the Line" and "Beyond the Scoreboard: An Insider's Guide to the $750 Billion Business of Sports." His show "Beyond the Box Score" is posted on a weekly basis on FoxSports.com, and the latest emerging trends in sports business can be found at www.horrowsports.com.